RMG exports to US fall in six months as Vietnam thrives

Moinul Haque

bus04Bangladesh’s apparel export to the US fell by 1.39 per cent to $2.45 billion in the first six months of 2014 compared with that of the same period in last year as Vietnam, the main competitor of Bangladesh, is gaining more ground in the market while India is emerging.
Experts and exporters said that the tragic industrial incidents of Rana Plaza building collapse and Tazreen Fashions fire were behind the negative growth in the export to the US market.
Apparel export earnings of Bangladesh from the US market were $2.48 billion in January-June of 2013.
Exporters said that due to negative campaign following the Rana Plaza building collapse and political turmoil in last year a good number of export orders were shifted from Bangladesh to Vietnam and India.
In the first six months of the current calendar year, the RMG export of Vietnam to the US market rose by 15.45 per cent to $4.28 billion from $3.71 billion in the same period of last year, showed US commerce department data released on Thursday.
The export of India to the market increased by 5.89 per cent to $1.82 billion in the first six months of 2014 from $1.72 billion in the same period of last year.
‘The US economy has started to recover and Vietnam and India are doing well in the market but Bangladesh is losing the opportunity as a negative campaign took place in the international community due to the industrial incidents,’ Centre for Policy Dialogue executive director Mustafizur Rahman told New Age.
He said that Vietnam and Cambodia targeted to grab the space China is losing in the US and EU markets. India is also taking advantage of the depreciation of its currency.
Mustafiz said that Bangladesh would have to increase its productivity and competitiveness to compete with the Vietnam and India in the US market.
He also said that ensuring compliance and promoting brand Bangladesh were important for the expert growth.
According to the data, apparel export of China to the US market rose by 0.59 per cent to $12.39 billion in the first six months of 2014 from the same period last year.
RMG export of Cambodia to the market increased by 0.34 per cent to $1.22 billion in the first six months of 2014.
Abdus Salam Murshedy, president of the Exporters Association Bangladesh, said that apparel export to the US decreased slightly due to the negative impact of Tazreen Fashions fire and Rana Plaza collapse.
Another reason is political instability which pushed the buyers to shift orders to the other countries, he said.
Among the major exporters of apparel items, Indonesia also had a disappointing first half with its earnings falling by around 4 per cent.
RMG export of Sri Lanka to the US market grew by 8.87 per cent, that of Honduras by1.48 per cent and that of Mexico rose by 0.30 per cent.


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